I’m A Grown Woman Who’s Had Imaginary Boyfriends—Yes, Really

I know it might sound crazy, but there have been times as a single woman that I’ve had imaginary boyfriends. I’m not saying that I told people to save a seat for the person they couldn’t see who I claimed was standing beside me or anything like that, but these 11 things did happen.

  1. I’d imagine entire relationships. I’d meet a sexy, interesting guy and I’d play with my imagination. I’d create stories in my head of how he’d ask me out, what kissing him would be like, and how we’d behave in our relationship. I’d see us walking hand-in-hand along the beach or snuggling up in front of video games. It entertained me for hours.
  2. It got me through bad times. Once, when I was going through a stressful time because a relative was really sick, I was so overcome with feelings of fear and anxiety. I didn’t have a boyfriend around at that time and not many friends in my life to whom I could pour my heart out, so I’d imagine I was dating a loving, sweet guy who listened to me and reassured me. It’s weird because whatever I imagined him telling me to make me feel better was what I was telling myself! I was giving myself strength.
  3. It was more empowering than real life dating. When my love life was a mess, thinking of an imaginary boyfriend would help me out of that stressed state. Dreaming up a perfect partner was so empowering. It made me feel completely in control instead of having to take an actual person into account with all his flaws, issues, and so on. I could still live my life exactly the way I wanted while having someone—a made-up boyfriend in my head who did whatever I wanted. Perfect!
  4. Sometimes it got me out of bad datesThen there were times when I’d create a boyfriend to get me out of things. For example, I’d tell the creepy guy who was hitting on me that I had a boyfriend back home who was waiting up for me just so that he’d get off my back. Not the best way to go about things but it worked.
  5. It helped me deal with social anxiety. Sometimes I’d tell smug friends in relationships that I was seeing someone just so I didn’t have to deal with their annoying “Why are you still single?” questions. It was a way for me to feel good about myself and not have to deal with people’s criticism, so I don’t regret it. Honestly, it’s not always easy to be the strong and single woman who’s got everything sorted, so this was a big help for me.
  6. It made me fine-tune my dream-guy list. Although the idea of having an imaginary boyfriend or relationship might seem like a waste of time, it actually served a really good purpose. It helped me figure out what it is I wanted in a partner. I’d pay attention to the characteristics and qualities I gave this imaginary man and realize what was important for me to have in a happy, successful relationship.
  7. It was a nice escape on gloomy days. On days when being single felt like crap, having this daydream in my mind of the perfect boyfriend to which I could escape was fantastic. I don’t see it as silly—it’s the same as imagining being rich or being the next Jennifer Aniston.
  8. It helped me keep the faith. It’s not always easy to maintain faith when it comes to finding the right person. I know relationships aren’t the most important thing, but I can’t deny that there were times as a single woman when I really wanted to meet someone great. Having an imaginary boyfriend helped me focus on attracting what I wanted, like what The Secret teaches. I was so into the law of attraction at that time in my life, and it made me much more positive about my dating future.
  9. It was the best after crappy dates. When I’d pluck up the courage to go on a blind date and it later tanked, I’d feel so miserable, so I’d think of my fake boyfriend instead and how much happier I’d be with him. Sometimes when I needed a real boost, I’d imagine he had Ryan Gosling’s face. Ta-dah! Instant mood changer.
  10. It was like therapy. Sometimes it’s so good to take a timeout in my day and listen to what my thoughts and feelings are trying to tell me. That’s where my imaginary boyfriend would come in really handy. I’d imagine I was talking to him about whatever was on my mind. This was a great way to get in tune with myself, especially during stressful times. It was even a fun way to give myself a pep talk!
  11. Admittedly, sometimes it backfired. Although having an imaginary partner can be useful at times, other times it can be unhealthy. I discovered this when I started chatting to a guy I met online and we convinced each other that even though we were just platonic friends, it was a good idea to pretend to be each other’s partners until we found real ones to date. Um, OK. It gets worse—when we met in RL, he was a total freak. Ugh. Better to stick to the imaginary boyfriends in my head, thanks.
Giulia Simolo is a writer from Johannesburg, South Africa with a degree in English Language and Literature. She has been working as a journalist for more than a decade, writing for sites including AskMen, Native Interiors, and Live Eco. You can find out more about her on Facebook and LinkedIn, or follow her on Twitter @GiuliaSimolo.